Cheque presentation 31 March 2019. L to R Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler (Principal-Yeshivah Beth Rivkah Colleges), Rabbi James Kennard (Principal-Mt Scopus Memorial College), Jeremy Stowe-Lindner (Principal-Bialik College),Jenny Measey (Acting Principal - Adass Israel School), Helen Greenberg. (Principal-Sholem Aleichem College), Cherylyn Skewes (Principal-Leibler Yavneh College), Lahra Carey (President -The King David School council), Hilton Rubin (Principal - Yesodei HaTorah College), Eli Tayar (Divrei Emineh School), Dovid Rahmani (Cheder Levi Yitzchok School)
JCAS funding has had an unparalleled impact in supporting young people.
By Adele Ribnick, Psychologist
The Viewpoint Psychology and Counselling
In the first time in the award’s 62-year history, a person with a visible disability, Dylan Alcott - tennis champion, Paralympian and disability advocate – has been named the 2022 Australian of the Year. Dylan has spoken openly about his experiences growing up where he was subjected to bullying and discrimination regarding his disability. In acknowledging being the recipient of the award, on the 25th Jan 2022 Dylan tweeted “Wow. I’m forever grateful. My purpose today and every day is to change perceptions so people with disability can live the lives they deserve to live”. (1)
Having worked as a psychologist for many years in both the government and independent school systems, I note that the care provided for students can sometimes fall through the gaps and that there can be a large deficit in the knowledge of how best to work with and support children and young people with disabilities. There is overwhelming evidence from research and thus consensus on the importance of schools providing an inclusive education and that is why additional funding is so important. Additional funding can be used to secure valuable resources to holistically support students with a disability. For example, funding may be used for integration aids/education support staff, speech and/or behavioural therapists, modifications to adapt the physical environment, educational tools and teaching resources as well.
Shortly after moving to Melbourne, I began working within the Jewish school system and attended a meeting arranged by JCAS. I soon learnt of the long history of JCAS (being one of the oldest running Jewish charities in Melbourne) and became acutely aware of the valuable impact that JCAS funding has had on young persons, particularly young persons with disabilities. This impact extends beyond the individual, it is also greatly beneficial for the friends, families and schools, and the broader social networks – their communities. It was at that first meeting that I was introduced to Sharon Goodhardt and whom I subsequently relied on heavily for her support, insight and guidance in navigating the application process for funding. Sharon was always readily available to answer any queries, talk through aspects of what supports may need to be in place and I always had great confidence in her professionalism and confidentiality.
To paraphrase what Dylan Alcott reported in an interview on 7 Nov 2015, “…The biggest thing about us, is that for everything you can’t do, there are 10,000 others you can. For every ...(idiot)…. that gives you a hard time, there are 10,000 others worth your time!” (2)
JCAS funding has had an unparalleled impact in this space, and I am confident that it has made a marked and meaningful difference in the lives of many. This is thanks to the work of Sharon Goodhardt and the JCAS team, the work of volunteers and the JCAS sponsors.
1. 25 Jan 2022 Twitter – Dylan Alcott
2. Hamish McLachlan 7 Nov 2015. What you didn’t know about Paralympian Dylan Alcott
Email from Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum Principal Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges December 03, 2021
I would like to thank you for everything you do for our students.
I have only recently rejoined Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah, but I hear constantly from staff and especially the LE and Welfare teams how grateful they are for your support and care.
As you so clearly appreciate, so many students have such serious needs. The school tries desperately to cater for them and provide the education and care that they so desperately need. Often it is the funds from JCAS that make the actual difference between being able to help a child, or ,G-d forbid, watching them continue to suffer.
I remember when I was previously involved in the school that our students were afforded the opportunity to help out in the op-shop and I hope that with the relaxation of Covid restrictions that they will again be able to give back to the community and show our gratitude.
I would welcome the opportunity to meet you at some stage, to learn more about JCAS and share stories about the positive impact of your care.
May you and your families be blessed and may your devotion to the children of the community resonate to the merit of your family’s.
Yeshivah - Beth Rivkah Colleges
Excerpts of an actual speech delivered by a mother to our volunteers
I won’t endeavour to explain the emotional challenges that one is faced every minute of the day when you have a child with special needs. I am sure that you can appreciate and understand the ache that is associated with that.
The financial challenges TRULY though are ones that are impossible to overcome.
Because no matter how many working hours there are in a day and how many extra concerts I undertake, as a single mum , it will still never be anywhere near enough for what one needs in order to keep their child in a private, mainstream education system with a full time aide.
This would not be possible without all of you and without the incredible community that came together when thousands of dollars were needed in order for Jeremy to continue on at the school.
Your work has changed my life. It has given me the opportunity to keep my son safe. To keep him secure, and to give him a Jewish education that my parents so desperately wanted me to have when we emigrated here in 1978 from Ukraine.
Like any other mum, I dream for Jeremy’s happiness. I hope that he finds some place in this world as an adult that can bring fulfilment into his life. I hope and pray that his journey will be as safe and as nurturing as it has been so far.
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you Rosalie, and thank YOU.
Thank you for giving me some peace of mind, for helping me keep my son where he belongs, where he is loved.
It would be impossible without your ongoing efforts and endless hours that you have so generously given. I hope you all understand how precious this gift is to me as I’m sure it is to all the others that you help. I am blessed. Truly blessed.
Thank you Sharon, for always being my advocate!
And thank YOU! I am, forever grateful.
Email from Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler Principal Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges September 06, 2017
Dear Maurice, Rosalie and all the wonderful volunteers at the Posh Opp Shoppe,
Your ongoing commitment to assisting children with additional needs, whilst allowing them to continue receiving a Jewish education, has resulted in hundreds of young people being able to achieve, or even exceed their potential without having to compromise their values and traditions.
Watching these students build their self-esteem and self-confidence in spite of their academic challenges, maintaining their relationships with their peers and working towards a better future for themselves, is hugely rewarding. The nachas that we receive from these students, is nachas that you too are a part of.
Thank you for your ongoing support to our Colleges and our students.
Wishing you a Shana Tova and a K’tiva V’Chatima Tova.
Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler
Principal Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges
on behalf of the staff and students and their families
Thank you JCAS for your generosity- the money you give changes the lives of children.
Principal - Leibler Yavneh College
Thank you for the generous and truly needed support from JCAS for our children with special needs. Their invaluable assistance enables us to provide an education that ensures our children have opportunities that otherwise we may not have been able to provide.
Principal - Sholem Aleichem College
Without JCAS, true inclusion for so many Jewish children with special needs in our schools would not be possible. Thank you.
Principal - Bialik College
A little effort makes a big difference in the life of a child. JCAS makes a big effort that changes the future of our most vulnerable children by keeping them attached and valued as part of our community. The importance of JCAS cannot be underestimated in helping to preserve the dignity and sense of belonging that ALL children deserve.
Principal - Yesodei HaTorah College
Adass Israel School take this added opportunity to thank The Jewish Children’s Aid Society for the amazing support our students receive from your hard work. Kol Hakavod.
Acting Principal - Adass Israel School